Manchester United can still win title says Solskjaer

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The Independent Football

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would prefer to be helping Manchester United's players land their 19th league championship than standing on the sidelines hoping they can do it.

The legendary United forward will grace Old Trafford again on Saturday when he turns out for the Red Devils as part of 'United Relief Live: The Big Red Family Day Out'.

But Solskjaer is acutely aware the main event this weekend comes 24 hours later, when United head to Sunderland desperately hoping old enemies Liverpool have done them a favour an hour earlier by beating title favourites Chelsea at Anfield.

If Liverpool have done the business, United will suddenly find themselves installed as title favourites. If Chelsea win, Carlo Ancelotti's men will almost certainly land the prize.

It promises to be a nail-biter, with Solskjaer admitting the best place to be is on the pitch.

"It is not so bad as a player," said the Norwegian.

"You are looking forward to the games and, in a sense, you are in charge of your own destiny.

"As a coach and a fan it is worse because you are standing on the outside. All you can do is stand there and hope.

"We still have a chance. We had that dreadful week where we went out against Bayern Munich and then drew with Blackburn.

"But you can't feel sorry for yourself. It was time to respond and we have. We are in with a shout, which is where we wanted to be."

Having retired almost three years ago after finally giving up the struggle of battling through constant pain from a succession of knee injuries, Solskjaer is certain of an enthusiastic welcome from the fans who turn out on Saturday to see a game that will feature a reunion of 1999 Champions League final heroes.

Apart from Solskjaer, who scored that memorable last-second winner against Bayern Munich, Denis Irwin, Jaap Stam, Ronny Johnsen, Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke will also be involved against a 'Rivals' team featuring the likes of Ian Rush and John Barnes, plus the usual smattering of celebrities.

There will also be musical performances from The Saturdays, Tinchy Stryder and Flawless, with the game kicking off at 3pm.

It seems amazing to consider Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville could have easily been part of the occasion as well.

Instead, they are ploughing on with their stellar careers, still performing to the level Solskjaer got used to as their team-mate.

"I am so pleased for them," said Solskjaer.

"I was forced to retire and was happy the day it happened.

"All players have to look at themselves in the mirror and ask whether they can perform at the same level.

"The three of them have been outstanding. The comeback Gary has made after all those injuries has been amazing.

"I wouldn't be surprised if he went to the World Cup with England."

Solskjaer is now carving out a coaching career for himself and guided United to the reserve team title this season.

There has already been plenty of speculation about him branching out into the senior ranks in the near future, although the Norwegian insists he has no grand plan.

"When I went into professional football I wanted to be the best I could be," he said. "When I went into coaching it was the same.

"Where that leads me I don't know. When I was 12 I could never have imagined I would end up at Manchester United for so long."

Solskjaer certainly has no intention of relying on his reputation as a player.

"You don't want to have a coaching career based on what you did as a player," he said.

"You want to be recognised for your ability as a coach.

"The experiences I had as a player helps me but the players here will soon find you out if you are a fraudster."